Thomasville Times Enterprise

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February 27, 2010

Hadley eager to serve

Senate hopeful slated to speak at citizens meeting

THOMASVILLE — R.J. Hadley wants to overhaul a political machine that is fueled by corporate cash and the influence of special interest groups. That is why he rolled up his sleeves and entered the race for the U.S. Senate seat held by Johnny Isakson.

“I’m running a people’s race,” the 41-year-old lifelong Democrat from Conyers said during a Thursday evening stop at the Times-Enterprise. “I know we can do better in Georgia. We can get better representation.”

Hadley, a 1991 Dartmouth College graduate and married father of five, resigned his post as Rockdale County’s chief of staff last fall to begin his first quest for elective office. The former social worker in the New Jersey juvenile court system admitted his campaign is unorthodox and that his efforts haven’t always been embraced by party officials.

“I didn’t come up through the usual channels,” he said. “Some people are still waiting for the big name to enter the race, but I’m here and I’m stepping forward. I’ve seen a lot of good people get pushed out of politics because they didn’t come up through the ranks, and I think that’s part of the problem we have in this country.”

Hadley has been told it will take close to $10 million just to have a chance to be competitive against Isakson. He remains undeterred even though he has received less than $5,000 in campaign contributions.

“It can’t just be about money,” he said. “I don’t have it, but I still want to represent Georgians. I believe the money will take care of itself when the time comes.”

Hadley’s resume is not devoid of political success. He joined the Rockdale County Democratic Party upon returning to his birthplace in 2006 and quickly became its communications chairman. He was also one of the first volunteers for the Obama for America office in Atlanta. He campaigned for Barack Obama in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas.

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